One more COVID-19 death, 23 new patients

Tuesday, 5 May 2020 01:03 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • 72-year-old woman dies from COVID-19 as toll rises to eight  
  • 10 recoveries and 23 new cases reported
  • 46,400 persons arrested over curfew violations
  • Over 26,800 PCR tests conducted, more to continue 
  • 208 students return from UK, most chose to quarantine at hotels  

The eighth COVID-19 death was recorded yesterday when a 72-year-old woman from Polpithigama, Kurunegala passed away at the Homagama Base Hospital, but health officials assured there was a low percentage of infection in Sri Lanka with all efforts taken to prevent community transfer. According to the Health Promotion Bureau, this brings the COVID-19 fatality rate to 1.11% in the island.

Sri Lanka’s recovery rate is 26.91% and the number of COVID-19 recoveries in the country has increased to 194 with 10 persons recovering yesterday.

This has brought the number of active cases to 549, as 23 persons tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday.  According to Health Services Director General Dr. Anil Jasinghe, 1,636 PCR tests were conducted on Sunday and only 13 of them tested positive. “This can be considered as a low percentage of infection,” he said, adding that tests are also being conducted at the Welisara Naval Camp.

“A large number of the naval officers have been infected within the camp itself. Thus the chances of the virus spreading from them is low,” he said, adding that since around odd officers have gone back to their homes on leave, PCRs tests are being conducted in those areas as well.

In addition to this, tests are being conducted in select areas of Colombo city and a total of 26,842 tests have been conducted thus far.

The total number of confirmed cases is now 721. This includes 149 from the Colombo District, 35 from Puttalam, and 34 from Gampaha, as well as 277 from the Welisara Naval Base and 25 from the Rangala Naval Base. 10 Sri Lanka Army officers and one Sri Lanka Air Force officer are also among the total count.

The Defence Ministry yesterday stated via their website that the first sailor to recover from COVID-19 had left the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) on 3 May and will undergo a 14-day quarantine process. He tested positive at the Ratnapura Hospital and was admitted to IDH on 25 April.

According to Health and Indigenous Medical Services Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, of the 13 patients identified on Sunday, 11 were Navy personnel and the remaining two were their close contacts.

Wanniarachchi added that the main reason for the containment of the spread of COVID-19 in the country are the efforts of the defence and intelligence services as well as the health services in identifying and monitoring the first, second, and third rings of contact of infected persons.

She explained that even though in the last few days there were instances where 30 patients were identified within a day, if they had continued to spread the virus, like in other countries, there would currently be 300 or 400 new cases identified daily.

“While we continue containment measures, 50% of the responsibility is in the hands of the public. Thus, in the future, if curfew is lifted in any way, we are requesting the public to continue support shown thus far and follow health sector guidelines for months to come,” Wanniarachchi added.

In order to contain the spread of COVID-19, curfew continues to be imposed in the Western Province and the Puttalam District. Curfew will be imposed from 8 p.m. tonight to 5 a.m. tomorrow in all other areas and islandwide curfew will be in place from 8 p.m. on 6 May to 5 a.m. on 11 May.

Addressing the press, DGI Ajith Rohana said legal action will be taken against all those who violate laws and regulations when curfew is imposed. He added that in the 24-hour period that ended at 6 a.m. yesterday, 1,200 persons and 314 vehicles were taken into custody.

Since curfew was imposed, 46,400 persons and 12,000 vehicles have been taken into custody over curfew violations.

He added that the system allowing people to go out depending on the last digit of their NIC will be in effect from 11 May in areas where curfew is imposed. During this period, people will be allowed to travel to and from their places of work but any other travel will be limited to purchasing food and medicines from the closest stores and pharmacies.

Measures to bring down locals in other countries are also being carried out and a SriLankan Airlines flight brought down 208 local students from the UK yesterday morning. All students will complete the mandatory quarantine process at centres operated by the Sri Lanka Army.

According to Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva, another flight will be bringing down students and State officers from London today. These persons, too, will be quarantined at centres operated by the Sri Lanka Army.

“At present, the Tri-Forces manage 35 quarantine centres where 4,522 persons are currently under observation,” he said, adding that this includes 1,031 family members of infected Navy personnel.

Yesterday, a group of 129 persons from Beruwala were released from the quarantine centres after being subjected to the PCR test. This brings the total number released from quarantine centres to 5,052.

“We are especially thankful to Dolphin Hotel for letting us use the hotel as a quarantine centre for the past month. A total of 223 persons have been quarantined at the hotel,” Lt. Gen. Silva added. Citrus Waskaduwa was also among the four hotels sheltering the returnees.